Kalau Melayu tak mampu bersatuManakan Malaysia boleh?
It's common sense. How do you forge a united Malaysia if half the population - the 16 million or so Malays - are divided? And divided the Malays are. The Umno-PAS Himpunan Ummah on 13-14 Sept may be seen as a political coup led by the Malay parties in the majority-Malay Opposition - and, make no mistake, it is, too! - BUT for the Malays in general, particularly those who are neither PAS nor Umno members (or members of any political party, for that matter), the gathering is a reassuring development, something they've been waiting for, one that gives them a flicker of real hope. Especially in today's environment, where more and more of these Malays are coming out to say they are feeling more and more disenchanted (and, at times, sympathetic) with the Malay leaders of the current government.
And before anyone accuses Umno and PAS of "playing the race and religion card" again, let him or her be informed that the Himpunan Ummah had the support of the other races, although in the form of members of political parties aligned with the Barisan Nasional.
It wasn't an all-Melayu or Malays-only event.
|A Chinese at the Malay unity gathering ...|
|... And more Chinese and Indian and others, too|
Among the Malays, there have been reservations, and there still are some suspicions. That's to be expected. PAS and Umno, after all, had been bitter enemies for decades, since the Eighties, when Mahathir became the Prime Minister for the first time. Some Malays I know were worried that Umno might become "more Islamic than PAS" as a result of the PHU.
But as Nicole Wong, the MCA Youth chief, writes in her FB, "HPU transcends the races ... we believe we can achieve national unity based on common ground without having to compromise anyone's culture".
|It wasn't a Melayu-only event|
Taking the cue from PAS-Umno's #penyatuanummah aka #muafakatnasional, another group of Malays (outside Umno and PAS) is already planning a so-called Kongres Melayu to "further unite the Malays". Look out for it: Oct 6 in Kuala Lumpur.
I am looking forward to this so-called Malay Congress, and to anything that forges Malay - and Malaysian - unity. My hope is that the organisers will be inspired, as a lot of us have been, by the peaceful and disciplined conduct of the Himpunan Ummah organised by Umno and PAS. If there's one thing we can learn from the PHU, it is this: we don't need vehicles to burn in the streets to ignite our passions.